Environmental Policy

Overall Goals

  • HH wants to contribute to sustaining our oceans, mountains and forests and to minimizing climate change so that we and future generations can enjoy the great outdoors and all it has to offer.
  • HH can not save the environment on its own. We will, however, be the leading Scandinavian contributor to creating a more sustainable sporting goods industry.
  • HH will take a holistic approach to its environmental commitment. We will improve our environmental footprint through closer cooperation with suppliers and customers, as well as improving internal processes.

Product Goals

  • Our products should always be of the highest quality and durability and do not necessitate seasonal replacement.
  • We will not knowingly ever used banned chemicals, and will be in compliance with governmental initiatives such as REACH in Europe.
  • We will work with Bluesign (see www.bluesign.com) to improve the sustainability of our entire supply chain:
    • Energy usage
    • Chemical use and emissions
    • Water usage
  • We will commit to finding and using more environmentally sound alternatives to existing fabrics, chemicals, and processes. These maybe natural or synthetic solutions depending on overall footprint.
  • We will always have a part of our collection that is solely dedicated to experimenting with new environmental fabrics, processes and technologies (Ekolab).

Marketing Goals

  • We will communicate openly our position on environmental issues.
  • We are dedicated to using recycled or recyclable packaging only for our products and within our stores, and to reduce our use to a commercially viable minimum.
  • We will commit to introducing reusable bags in all our stores.
  • We will continue to create our own environmental initiatives such as the Keep Our Water Blue in Japan.
  • We will continue to support local environmental initiatives that are relevant for our core activities of sailing, skiing and hiking.

Operational Goals

  • We will operate a code of conduct (see www.etiskhandel.no) based on the UN global compact.
  • We will plan our business in a manner to most efficiently ship our products and to maximise the re-usage of packaging used for transportation.
  • We will plan our business to minimize internal travel.
  • We will encourage the use of public transport and car pooling for our own staff.
  • We will introduce energy saving schemes in our own premises.
  • We use energy from natural sources (water) in our head offices in Norway.
  • We are dedicated to educating our staff to act in a more sustainable way.
  • We will have an annual review of environmental performance.

bluesign® - Pure materials. Pure benefit

Our partnership and long term commitment to the widely recognized and independent bluesign® standard means Ekolab is moving forward.

bluesign® is a global guiding tool for the entire textile industry’s production chain. To ensure that products are environmentally friendly and pose no health hazards, the bluesign® standard helps design production processes that meet the increasing consumer demand for ecologically safe apparel.

The bluesign® standard starts from the ground up. It’s not about testing finished products, but rather ensuring that the process is done right all the way from its first stage. Everything from raw material and component suppliers, to textile manufacturers and retailers should meet the same criteria.

Helly Hansen and Water Repellent Treatments (DWR)

Helly Hansen strives to adhere to the highest performance and protection standards for our gear. We carefully choose and apply water repellant treatments in order to meet the performance needs and expectations of consumers. In certain environments and uses, treatments which don’t easily break down in nature are currently the only option.

For a product to be biodegradable, it needs to be able to house microorganisms, and microorganisms require water to survive. A chemical product which is designed to repel water is therefore in contradiction to a biological degradation. The only substance to date that can meet the needs for extreme oil and water repellency is fluorocarbons (PFCs) which for many years have been used in a chain with eight carbons, the so called C8s. This compound has hazardous bi-products, the PFOA and PFOS. Therefore Helly Hansen eliminated all C8 treatments from their products in production in 2014 and we are today relying on the shorter chained fluorocarbon compound with six carbons, C6, for extreme oil and water repellency.

For many activities this extreme water repellency is not necessary for the user to stay comfortable and dry. Helly Hansen has for many years been on the journey to find more environmentally friendly options. We continue to carefully research and test fluorocarbon-free DWR treatments. However, it is difficult to get a proper picture of the hazard and toxicological levels for most of the alternatives which can meet the performance levels our consumers require. A few options have been approved for our products, and we are offering a small selection of PFC-free garments.

Helly Hansen is in close cooperation with research institutes and chemical suppliers of PFC-free DWR treatments as we continue to solve the global issue of PFCs being the only option to obtain high performance oil and water repellency in waterproof / breathable garments. While we have not solved the issue, we have successfully avoided the use of PFCs in our waterproof / breathable membranes, which are 100% polyurethane based since 2007.

As a Scandinavian company, we’re extremely passionate about the outdoors, and we’re committed to running an environmentally and socially aware business. And while we’ve taken some significant and meaningful steps forward, we know that we can, and must continue to challenge ourselves, and our communities, to improve in all areas.

Anti-bacterial substances

At Helly Hansen we work and play outdoors – being respectful to the environment is one of our main concerns. There are serious environmental and health concerns surrounding anti-bacterial treatments which are often added to textiles and sports garments in order to reduce odor. Several of these compounds have been found in high concentration in the environment, polluting the water, threatening aquatic life and damaging plants that use this water for nutrition. Many of these substances are still under review by ECHA as they are believed to possess human- and/or environmental toxicity and cause multi-resistant bacteria.

At Helly Hansen we take environmental protection seriously, and we are committed to ensuring that all our apparel is and will remain free of anti-bacterial substances.